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tv   Eyewitness Noon News  CBS  August 22, 2013 12:00pm-12:30pm EDT

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[ horn honks ] kevin! toaster strudel, yah? ♪
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warm, flaky, gooey toaster strudel. [ joe ] ladies and gentlemen of the jury, forget everything you've seen on television and in the movies. there's not going to be any last-minute surprise witnesses. nobody's going to break down on the stand with a tearful confession. you're going to be presented with a simple fact: andrew beckett was fired. you'll hear two explanations for why he was fired: ours... and theirs. it is up to you to sift through layer upon layer of truth...
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until you determine for yourselves which version sounds the most true. there are certain points i must prove to you. point number one: andrew beckett was... is... a brilliant lawyer, a great lawyer. point number two: andrew beckett, afflicted with a debilitating disease, made the understandable, the personal, the legal choice to keep the fact of his illness to himself. point number three: his employers discovered his illness. and, ladies and gentlemen, the illness i'm referring to is aids. point number four: they panicked ! and in their panic, they did what most of us would like to do with aids, which is just get it and everybody who has it... as far away from the rest of us as possible. now, the behavior of andrew beckett's employers may seem reasonable to you.
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does to me. after all, aids is a deadly, incurable disease. but no matter how you come to judge charles wheeler and his partners... in ethical, moral and human terms, the fact of the matter is... when they fired andrew beckett because he had aids, they broke the law. fact: andrew beckett's performance on the job... varied from competent, good... to oftentimes mediocre, to sometimes flagrantly incompetent. fact: he claims he's the victim of lies and deceit. fact: it was andrew beckett who lied,
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going to great lengths to conceal his disease from his employers. fact: he was... successful in his duplicity. the partners at wyant, wheeler did not know... that andrew beckett had ai when they fired him. fact: andrew beckett is dying. fact: andrew beckett is angry.. because his lifestyle, his reckless behavior... has cut short his life. and in his anger, his rage, he is lashing out. and he wants someone to pay.
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thank you. andrew beckett represented your company in a lawsuit in 1990. correct ? that's correct. were you pleased with his work ? we were satisfied with the outcome of the litigation. satisfied. mr. laird, when i approached you about being a witness, you gave sworn testimony in a deposition, is that correct ? that's correct. in that deposition, you said that you were "impressed and delighted... with the quality of andrew beckett's work."
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do youecall saying that ? in all honesty, i was delighted... with certain aspects of andy's efforts. but in general, i found the work to be... merely satisfactory. uh-huh. do you agree... that a bologna sandwich is a satisfactory meal ? whereas caviar and champagne... roast duck and... baked alaska, that might be considered a delightful meal ? we object. these gastronomical comments are irrelevant, your honor. [ joe ] they are not irrelevant. your honor, five months ago this witness characterized andrew beckett as caviar.
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now he's calling him a bologna sandwich. i think the jury is entitled to know... what powerful force has caused him to change his mind. he hasn't changed his mind. he's amplified his answer. objection sustained. all right. mr. laird, explain this to me like i'm a four-year-old, okay ? did andrew beckett win your lawsuit for you ? yes, we won. oh, congratulations ! that must've been a very... satisfactory experience. ready, mr. beckett ? get ready. here they come. [ chanting ] no rights for sodomites ! adam and eve ! not adam and steve ! thou shalt not lie with mankind.
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do you see this as a gay rights issue ? i am not political. i just want what is fair, what is right. but you are gay, aren't you ? i don't see how that's any of your business. but, yes, i am. totally irrelevant. doesn't matter. do you think that homosexuals deserve special treatment ? hell no ! [ joe ] we're in philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, birthplace of freedom... where the founding fathers authored the declaration of independence. i don't recall that glorious document saying... anything about all straight men are createequal. i believe it says "all men are created equal." gimme a break. [ tv ] as far as someone being fired, from a law firm or a business, if we found that their action was discriminatory, they could no longer do business with the city. thank you, mayor. joe. you're not gettin' a little light in the sneakers, are you, pal ? [ laughing ]
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yeah, i am, filko. i'm, uh... i'm changing. i'm on the prowl. and i'm looking for a hunk, not just any hunk. i mean a man, a real man like you. you can tell everybody about it. you know what we do. you wanna play sailor ? you remember ? i'm columbus, you're the first mate ? that's not funny ! let me tell you something. these people make me sick. but a law's been broken. you remember the law, don't you ?
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could i get another one of those, actually? thank you. three years ago at the same time as walter kenton ? that's correct. at that time, did walter kenton know... the k.s. lesions on your face and arms were caused by aids ? definitely. i told all the partners. how did walter kenton treat you after you told him you had aids ? every time he'd come in contact with me, he'd get this look on his face. i refer to it as the "oh, god" expression. as in, "oh, god, here comes that woman with aids."
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thank you, mrs. benedict. no more questions, your honor. mrs. benedict, how did you contract the aids virus ? through a transfusion. i lost a lot of blood giving birth to my second child. so, in your case there was no behavior on your part... which caused you to be infected with the virus. it was something you were unable to avoid. isn't that crect ? i guess. thank you. [ mrs. benedict ] but i don't consider myself... any different from anyone else with this disease. i'm not guilty. i'm not innocent. i'm just trying to survive. thank you, mrs. benedict. no further questions at this time, your honor. [ judge ] you may step down, mrs. benedict. [ joe ] beyond noticing the marks on his face, were there other things about his appearance, miss burton,
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that made you suspect that andrew had aids ? he was getting thinner and seemed very tired sometimes. but he was working so hard. i felt something was wrong. and i can't believe they're trying to pretend that they didn't notice anything. objection. just answer the question, please. have you ever felt discriminated against at wyant, wheeler ? well, yes. in what way ? well, mr. wheeler's secretary, lydia, said that mr. wheeler had a problem with my earrings. really ? apparently mr. wheeler felt they were... too "ethnic" is the word she used. she told me he said he would like it if i wore something a little less garish, a little smaller and more... "american." what'd you say ? i said, "my earrings are american.
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they're african-american." [ chuckles ] [ laughing ] [ judge ] let's have order, please. thank you. no more questions. miss burton, weren't you recently promoted ? yes. i'm in charge of the paralegal department. congratulations on your unfettered ascendancy at wyant, wheeler. i don't know if i'd go so far as to call it unfettered. i don't understand. how do you explain... e promotion of an obviously... intelligent, articulate, qualified african-american woman... in a firm which practices discrimination... as wantonly and consistently as you and mr. beckett claim ? i can't explain it. could it be... that these...
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instances of discrimination... are in fact misunderstandings... that have been blown completely out of proportion ? i think counsel tends to oversimplify the issue somewhat. thank you, miss burton, i'll... take that note under consideration. [ laughter ] how's the trial going ? excuse me ? it's a great case. i saw you on television. i'm a law student at penn. how you doin' ? i'm all right. how are you ? saw me on tv ? yeah. it's a good school, penn. what year are you in ? second. listen, i just want to tell you... this case, it's tremendously important. i wanted to let you know i think you're doing a fantastic job. hey. thank you.
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when you graduate, you give me a call. all right. thank you. thank you very much. listen, joe ? yeah ? would you like to have a drink ? i just finished a game and could use a beer. ah, no, i can't. my wife is-- i don'pick up people in drugstores every day. what ? you think i'm gay ? aren't you ? what's the matter ? i look gay to you ? do i look gay to you ? [ attorney ] please continue, miss o'hara. we were going crazy looking for this complaint. i felt like i was in the twilight zone. mr. beckett was screaming at everybody and he just-- he looked so freaky. mr. kenton kept saying, "you lost the highline complaint ?"
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and he called mr. wheeler, and all of a sudden... jamey comes in with the complaint in his hand. he says, "it was in central files, andy." central files ? central files is a place where paperwork is sent when cases are closed. jamey ran it over to the court just in time, and everybody just stood there completely wasted. and mr.-- and mr. beckett just kept saying, "i'm sorry. sorry. i don't understand this." thank you, miss o'hara. no further questions at this time, your honor. [ judge ] all right. mr. miller. may i ? certainly.
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oh, thank you. you okay ? yes. you want a glass of water or something ? no. was andy a good boss ? yes. he was very sweet. how would you characterize his work as an attorney ? how would i know ? i just worked for him. [ laughter ] excuse me, your honor, but is this for the record ? mr. miller, perhaps you should return to counsel's table. yes, sir. miss o'hara ? yes ?
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were you aware, at any time, of any problems that the senior partners had... with the quality of andrew's work prior to this missing file episode ? no. no, i wasn't. thank you. no more questions, your honor.
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